I’m not a “reader.”

I hate this phrase, really and truly.  What do you mean you’re not a “reader?”  Did someone fail to teach you to read?  You read, everyone does. (Unless of course you’re illiterate, in which case, this is not aimed at you and is an entirely different issue.) You might not read books, but you read something.  I don’t care if it’s the back of the cereal box while you eat breakfast, you fucking read.

So do you mean you don’t read for fun?  Again, I don’t buy it.  You’re on Twitter or Facebook.  You have your magazines.  You read something for fun.  Even if it’s the “articles” in the Playboy on the back of your toilet.  Even my boyfriend, who at the beginning of our relationship confessed he’s not a “reader” reads something for fun.  Granted, it’s online articles and technical manuals on programming languages and system maintenance, but he reads.

So really, what it boils down to, is that you prefer not to read, but will, on occasion, either out of necessity or boredom, will read.  What’s really frustrating is people tell me they’re not readers after I tell them what I do.

“I’m a writer.  I write books.”

“Oh, I’m not a reader.”

Really?  Allow me to light you on fire.  Because what you’ve actually said is, I don’t care what you do and I don’t think much of your profession.  At least, that’s how I think of it.  It’s like talking to someone who tells you they’re researching vaccines and you tell them you think vaccines are a conspiracy set on us by the healthcare industry.  Please, next time you want to insult someone, just say what you mean.

“I don’t like to read.”

That’s fair, right?  And maybe, for all I know, you just didn’t find the right book and that’s why you don’t like it.  If all you’ve ever read are the books and articles force fed you by your education, then no, I imagine you don’t like to read.

“Reading is hard for me.”

Again, totally fair thing to say, albeit, potentially more embarrassing.  But I just told you I’m a writer, right?  I get joy out of other people reading my work and works I’ve enjoyed reading on my own.  I will not judge you.  I actually weep for the men and women who do find reading difficult, because I have found so much joy from it.  I won’t say I will feel sorry for you.  That doesn’t get us anywhere.  But what I will say is, I understand and I will probably want to help.

“I don’t like reading scifi/fantasy/romance/etc.”

Very fair.  Some genres just don’t sit right with folks.  I get that.  I have good friends that tell me they hate the genre I write in.  I’m not gonna cry about it.

But to say “I’m not a reader?”  Especially after I tell you I’m a writer?  That’s just rude.  You just told me my passion has no meaning, no impact and is of no concern to you or your life.  Everybody reads, period.  You’re a reader whether your like it or not.  Quit being an ass.

 

/end rant

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About amandamccarter

I am an aspiring writer. I spend most of my time balancing my work, my personal life and my craft. It is my hope that my craft and my work will one day be the same thing and I can spend more time on my personal life. I live with my boyfriend, my insane fluff ball of a cat, and two snakes. In what little spare time I have, I play video games, read, knit, and help out with the local conventions.
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6 Responses to I’m not a “reader.”

  1. By definition, if they don’t read, they aren’t here. They have to read to see this message.

    As for the rest of your rant: I’ve never had this exact experience, but I’ve had people very close to me tell me how much they hate computers. That’s how I’ve made my livelihood for 27 years. Yes, I sympathize.

  2. mhjanine says:

    I go through this same sort of dialogue every year when I try to get people to participate in the Mayor’s Reading Challenge. They always want to lament the number of minutes to read. Then I point out the whole read the instructions, menu, product label, whatever thing. Then they seem to register that it isn’t some gawdawful activity . It is all about reframing the perceptions.

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